MY TOP TEN TIPS FOR LONGER LASTING SOAP BARS
I want to tell you about Max. Max is a retired farmer and he and his wife won't use any other soap but ours. He often comments what a difference our soap has made to his skin. But Max has a problem - he says his soap doesn't last as long as the commercial bars that he used to use. He's not complaining, and would never switch back because they made his skin itchy and dry. He'd just like to enjoy each of our bars for longer.
And there lies the problem - our handmade soap is specifically designed to alleviate those problems associated with commercial soap bars and their synthetic ingredients so it stands to reason that it wouldn't be the same.
There's four things we do that make our soap so much kinder to sensitive skin (and the environment) but that does mean our bars aren't quite as hard as commercial soap.
- We don't use palm oil. Palm oil makes a very hard bar and nothing can really take its' place (shea butter and cacao butter help with hardness, but not in the same way as palm oil).
- We make sure that there's extra oils in every bar that have not been made into soap. This helps make the bars more moisturising but it does mean they won't quite be 'rock hard'.
- We use milks, such as goat's milk and coconut milk. The natural sugars in these ingredients contribute to an awesome lather but can make the bars a little more water soluble.
- Our bars contain the natural glycerine that forms when we make soap using the traditional cold process method. Glycerine helps make our bars moisturisng to the skin but does compromise hardness slightly. (By the way, the natural glycerine is removed from commercial soap and sold off to the food and cosmetics industries - it's a valuable by-product of soap making).
But, I'm here to tell you that we've solved Max's problem. Read on to find out the best strategies for longer lasting soap - and the one that worked best for Max.
1: Stand Your Soap On Its Smallest Side To Maximise Drying
Where's the rule that says we have to lay our soap on it's large flat side? Handmade soap loves fresh air, and resting the bar on its smallest side really helps to dry it out between uses, which leads us onto our second point:
2. Use A Slotted Soap Rack, a Well Designed Soap Dish Or Soap Saver That Allows Good Drainage
Find a way to air your soap that best suits your bathroom - an elegant dish, a rustic rack, a discreet soap saver. I have a sneaky little spot at the top of my shower frame where my collection of bars get good access to air. There's plenty of space for me to stash a good variety to suit my mood or the time of day (like lavender & geranium at night and fresh citrus in the morning).
3. Cut Your Bar Into Smaller Pieces
Why would you do this? Here's a few good reasons for you:
A) Smaller pieces are perfectly sized for the hand basin
B) Little chunks are great for kids so we can avoid that sinking feeling when we find a whole bar of beautiful soap turned to mush in the bottom of the bath
C) When travelling, smaller pieces are perfect - use a small piece and keep the rest tucked away in your luggage, nice and dry.
Oh, and you can simply cut your bar with a knife. It's not made of powdered soap like a commercial bar so it won't fall to bits when you take a knife to it.
4. When Your Soap Gets Too Small To Hold Easily, Slide The Bits Into A Soap Sack. Wet The Sack And Enjoy Washer And Soap All In One
The same soap sacks are also brilliant to keep your toiletries bag nice and dry when you're travelling. Use your soap and then pop it in the dry soap sack. Throw it into your toiletries bag and there's no mess. The fabric will allow your soap to dry before being used again at your next stop.
5. Rotate Your Soap Bars
Keep a couple of bars (okay, three or four) on the go and rotate them. Grab a different one each time you bathe and they'll get the chance to dry out between uses.
6. Buy Your Soap In Bulk And Let It Cure (Harden) More Before You Use It
Grandma knew what she was doing when she stashed her soap in her knicker drawer. Unlike commercial soap (that is made with powdered dry soap), handmade soap is made as a liquid which then takes time to harden. The longer you leave it the harder your soap will be - and if you buy from Washpool Farm, we offer BIG incentives for bulk purchases...and your knickers will smell lovely. It's a win/win situation.
7. Use A Sponge, Flannel Or Bath Pouf (the bamboo or nylon ones on rope)
Wet the sponge, rub the soap over it, put the soap back to dry and enjoy some lovely lather from your sponge of choice (i'm loving the awesome lather that I get from a Konjac spinge - plus it's a good choice for the environment as it can be composted when it starts to wear out).
8. Take Shorter Showers
Okay, I'm scratching to get to ten tips here, but perhaps I can take this opportunity to state the obvious. When you've washed your whole body with soap, you're finished. You can put the soap up until next time. You can choose to stay on a bit longer and meditate on all the good things in your life but let's be honest, we keep soaping because it's kinda nice - but not really necessary.
9. Oh No! I Think There's Only Nine. I'm Racking My Brain
I'll leave this space blank while I go make a cup of tea, so you can comment below with any extra tips you might have.
10. And finally, not so much a technique but a potential solution. If all else fails switch from bar soap to liquid soap.
A) If you live in a humid place it’s possible the constant moist air might make it nigh on impossible to get your soap dry. If this is the case, liquid soap might work well for you. Genuine liquid soap is virtually identical to bar soap when made by a soap maker. Beware of detergents with synthetic ingredients, preservatives and perfumes. The ingredient list for genuine liquid soap should read very much like your bar soap. Saponified oils such as olive, macadamia etc. with essential oils.
B) If there’s someone in your family who just won’t budge from the shower until they run out of hot water, it’s possible you’re using more soap per week than you’d like. In this case a liquid soap should last longer as they’re not holding the bar in their hand under running water for ages.
C) Liquid soap (or foaming handwash – similar thing but with a foamer mechanism) can be best at the hand basin. If you simply can’t keep the hand basin clean with multiple users and a bar of soap, try switching to a pump. Again, avoid the commercial detergents and stick with natural liquid soap that has ingredients you recognise and trust.